Practical Technology

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How is Microsoft with Vista like the Big Three automakers?


For more than a decade, if you owned a PC, you ran Windows and, far more often than not, Internet Explorer was your Web browser. In fact, for a while, the only three things you could be sure of were death, taxes and Microsoft.

Things have changed.

For the first time since Bill Gates strong-armed PC vendors into installing Windows, the operating system has dropped below a 90% market share, according to a Net Applications’ survey of Internet users’ operating systems.

That doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Well, maybe you felt the same way back in the early ’90s when Toyota and Honda started really ripping into the market shares of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. And we all know how well American car makers are doing these days, don’t we? Whether the Big Three get a bailout or not, most automobile industry analysts expect at least one of them, if not all three, to go bankrupt in the next two years.

The Toyota of the PC market muscling in on Microsoft’s dominance is Apple. Mac OS X now has 8.8% of the market. Linux is far behind at not quite 1%. But with the growing popularity of Linux-powered laptops and netbooks from vendors like Dell, Lenovo and Asus, the open-source operating system is gaining ground at Windows’ expense as well.

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